Members of Parliament (MPs) are unhappy with the Ministry of Energy for its performance in 2019 and its projections into 2020.
According to the lawmakers, the performance of the ministry was below par and that if Ghana was to achieve universal electricity coverage, the ministry ought to do more in the coming years.
The MPs expressed the concern when the House yesterday approved a GH¢585,766,327 budget estimate for the ministry for its activities for the year ending December 31, 2020.
Some of the concerns of the MPs included the unattained rural electrification projections, and increased rate of access to electricity.
For example, the ministry in 2019 projected to connect 1,250 communities to the national grid but succeeded in hooking only 305 communities, representing 24.4 per cent, the Committee on Energy and Mines reported.
The ministry also managed to increase access rate from 84.32 per cent in 2018 to 84.98 per cent in 2019; an increment of 0.66 per cent.
Also among the concerns of the lawmakers was what they deemed the poor budget performance of the ministry.
The ministry in 2019, was allocated GH¢500,964,480 but as at October 2019, only GH¢167,403,559, representing 32.95 per cent was released.
Ranking Member on the Committee, Adam Mutawakilu, MP, Damongo, supporting the motion for the approval of the estimate said apart from not achieving on the electricity front, “all oil blocks that were supposed to be bided have not been bided” under the maiden oil and gas licensing rounds.
Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, on his part expressed concern over the ministry’s decision to utilise only GH¢51,689,886 of donor funds out of a total of GH¢338,591,157 to undertake projects when all the money was released.
On debts in the sector, Haruna Iddrisu said “beyond the legacy debt of GH¢2 billion, the minister would have to come and brief this House on what has been accrued between 2017 and 2019. This House needs to know.”
The Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who was not satisfied with projections of the ministry, said the target of reducing power distribution loss from 23.8 per cent in 2019 to 23 per cent in 2020 was woeful and that the country must be more ambitious when western neighbour, Côte d’Ivoire was doing eight per cent.
The Suame MP was also not happy with the target of increasing national coverage from 84.9 per cent to 90 per cent in 2020.
He said bearing in mind the government’s industrialisation policy – One District, One Factory – the ministry ought to be doing more to connect many more communities to the national grid.
The Sector Minister, John Peter Amewu, said his outfit had taken note of the MPs’ concerns and would take steps to address them.
The House, meanwhile, has approved a GH¢6.5 billion estimate for the Ministry of Health, GH¢965 million for the Food and Agriculture Ministry, GH¢34.5 million for the Chieftaincy Ministry and GH¢128.8 million for the Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Ministry.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI